If you prefer boat fishing, you may be familiar with the frustration of carefully crafting the perfect fishing lures, driving out, casting, and waiting — without success. Fish can be shy, fully fed, or far away from your fishing spot. The great thing about a fish finder is that you can actively search for fish and increase your chances of success.
In this Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder review, we will be taking an in-depth look at the Striker 4, its features and benefits, but also its drawbacks.
For reviews of other excellent fish finders, you may view our top list of best fish finders.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Fish Finder
A fish finder takes a lot of the guesswork out of fishing. With one on your boat, you increase your success rate significantly, and your patience is less likely to go unrewarded.
The Striker for makes our top list for kayaks here, because if you fish from one of these, or a canoe, a compact fish finder like the Garmin Striker 4 is ideal for helping you know your underwater surroundings and detect fish in your area. A compact fish finder is also a viable option even if you fish from a bigger boat in a lake or river.
For surf fishing or shore angling, however, you will need a castable fish finder that you connect to your smartphone or tablet with Wi-Fi. Compact fish finders with screens smaller than 5 inches may also not be suitable for deep sea angling, commercial fishing, or competitions as these fish finders typically do not feature four-panel display or detect fish deeper than around 1,500 feet.
Think about the body of water where you typically fish and information you need while fishing, including the fish locations, bottom structure, water temperature, boat speed, topographical information, and underwater imagery.
You should also check your existing fishing equipment and watercraft as you want your fish finder to be compatible with your gear. For example, does your craft have a mounting point in the hull? Do you already have a GPS with a map of your favorite fishing spots?
After thinking about your typical fishing setting carefully, you can continue reading this Garmin Striker 4 review to find out if this is the ideal fish finder for your fishing setup and budget.
Our Garmin Striker 4 Review
The Garmin Striker 4 is a budget-friendly, entry-level sonar unit ideal for finding fish from small boats. The Striker 4 offers many of the same features as the popular Garmin Striker 7SV, including a user-friendly interface, side-imaging, and built-in GPS.
There are some notable differences, however. The Striker 4 has a smaller screen than the Striker 7SV, but the Striker 4 is more affordable.
The Striker 4 can enhance your fishing experience significantly, even if you are a serious fisherman. This fish finder has all the features you need for lake or river fishing, including built-in GPS and CHIRP sonar technology.
However, if you typically fish in water bodies deeper than 1,600 feet or if you need a roomy 7” screen for displaying a lot of information at a glance, consider some of the other alternatives in this range.
- An affordable fish finder with high-end features
- Dual frequency capability: 77/200 kHz and 50/200kHz
- Accurate built-in GPS that shows speed and that can save up to 5,000 waypoints
- Several sonar features, including ultra-scroll, flasher, and A-Scope
- Features a CHIRP 2D sonar and CHIRP transducer
- The unit does not display latitude and longitude information
- Small screen size
- Doesn’t feature NMEA connectivity
Features and Benefits
The Striker 4 has a full-color 3.5” touchscreen that is vertically oriented with a few buttons for navigation. The screen delivers a 200 kHz reading to deliver a clear and detailed image. You can, however, use the 77 kHz reading, which will provide you with a larger scanning area.
Even though the screen is smaller than those of high-end fish finders, it is sufficient for displaying the bottom structure, baitfish, and target species.
In addition to helping you detect fish, the Striker 4 can also provide you with navigational benefits with its accurate built-in GPS.
You can use this feature to mark your favorite fishing spots. You can also plot your course between the dock and various fishing locations with thousands of waypoints. The GPS tracking software tracks your boat’s speed and provides you with the option to view the information in a flasher-style readout.
The Striker 4 is one of the most affordable fish finders that features CHIRP technology to show you what lies below the surface of the water.
Sonar units use signals to gather underwater information. As a rule, you need low-frequency signals for deep water penetration and high frequencies for gathering detailed information in shallow water. Conventional sonars emit only one frequency, which limits you to in terms of water depth and image quality.
CHIRP sonars, on the other hand, emit several signals simultaneously at different frequencies to provide you with detailed imagery of small objects and soft bottom structures.
The Striker 4 offers several modes. The traditional mode displays the bottom structure and underwater objects, for example, fish arcs in the water. The flasher mode shows the depth levels of the water body and consolidates the two sonar frequencies to one display.
The split-frequency mode displays the 200 kHz and 70 kHz on one screen. In other words, you can see both beam cone areas below your boat.
The waypoint map shows your position and locations you marked. You can view the waypoint map and sonar screen together in a horizontal split view. The section number mode displays GPS speed coordinates.
General User Impressions
Many people who use the Striker 4 are impressed with its accuracy and high-end features, especially the CHIRP technology. The fish finder’s navigational features are also accurate and helpful, especially in large lakes. Generally, users are pleased with the value that this affordable unit has to offer.
Depending on the mode you selected, you can view the water depth, water temperature, GPS speed, GPS heading, approximate arrival time, and the time of the day.
The Striker 4 has a waterproof rating of IPX7, and it can get wet without sustaining water damage.
Yes. The Fish ID feature is incredibly helpful when interpreting 2D sonar returns. To activate this feature, go to the sonar screen, press the menu button and scroll down to sonar setup. Then, scroll to appearance and turn on fish symbols. Select the appropriate symbol for your skill level.
The Striker 4 runs off an external 12 Volt battery that is not included. You can connect the fish finder to a marine battery or a power tool battery. If you have a trolling battery on your boat, you can use that as well. The Striker 4 has an indicator light that shows when it is charging. If the unit is fully charged, it can last for an entire day or longer.
The Garmin Striker 4 is compact, affordable, and rugged. If you purchase this fish finder, you can rest assured that you will be able to use it for many years without experiencing any problems.
Unlike most products in this price and size category, the Striker 4 has several high-end features, with the most notable being the CHIRP technology and built-in GPS. The 3.5” screen is high resolution and is readable in almost all light conditions, even bright sunlight. Although the screen is small, it can display a lot of information at the same time, depending on the selected mode.
The Striker 4’s dual frequency capability and CHIRP 2D sonar makes up for the small screen by adding clarity to the display. Another thing we like about this unit is its navigational features, including waypoint and course plotting and GPS speed readout.
Generally speaking, the Striker 4 is a valuable addition to the boat fisherman’s tackle, and you will always have a use for it, even if you are not actively searching for fish.
The unit is not without its drawbacks, however. Since it is a budget-friendly fish finder, the Striker 4 does not have the same benefits and features as high-performance features like four-panel display, side-view imaging, or NMEA connectivity.
Despite optimal navigational abilities, the Striker 4 doesn’t have latitude and longitude information available. As a result, you will not be able to locate a fishing spot with coordinates alone. Another issue to consider is that the two-wire clamps that hold the transducer are fragile, and you may have to reinforce them.
If you don’t know what is going on under your boat, even the best fishing strategy can be a failure. A fish finder helps you find the best fishing spots to ensure that you have a successful fishing trip.
The Garmin Striker 4 is perfect for small boat fishing with its smooth, uninterrupted imagery between deep and shallow water, its comprehensive navigational features, and its compact size.
If you want to enhance your fishing experience and get more bites, click below to check out the Striker 4 from Garmin.